The Nashville Predators look to dig themselves out of a deep hole when they host the Phoenix Coyotes tonight, Wednesday May 2nd, for Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. The Coyotes have a commanding 2-0 lead in the best of seven series. NHL oddsmakers have installed the Predators as -155 moneyline home favorites over the Coyotes (+145) with the over/under set at 5 goals. Be sure to check the Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators Game 3 2012 NHL Playoff Odds before they drop the puck.
Phoenix (6-2, 3-0 V) beat the Predators 5-3 to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinal series. Shane Doan, Radim Vrbata, Antoine Vermette and Martin Hanzal each had a goal and an assist, and Taylor Pyatt also scored. Goalie Mike Smith had 30 saves and is 6-2 with a 2.03 GAA in these playoffs.
When asked about the suspensions of Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov after their practice on Tuesday in Scottsdale, the Coyotes downplayed the news. “I just heard about it,” goalie Mike Smith said, “and I don’t think it really matters. They’re in the playoffs, they’re in the second round for a reason and they have good players. … We just have to worry about ourselves.” Coyotes captain Shane Doan agreed. “They’ve got a real good team, with or without them,” he said. “We’re going to have to play good.”
The Coyotes’ Keith Yandle and Rusty Klesla, with seven and six points, respectively, rank first and second among all NHL defensemen in playoff scoring entering Tuesday night.
Nashville’s (4-3, 2-1 H) Ryan Suter, Patric Hornqvist and Andrei Kostitsyn scored for the Predators. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 34 of 39 shots and is 4-3 with a 2.51 GAA in these playoffs. Nashville coach Barry Trotz said his team has been outscored 8-3 in 5-on-5 situations. “Look at a lot of the goals, there’s people staring at the puck and not taking anybody,” he said, “and that’s not going to win you anything.”
Being down 2-0 in their best-of-seven series with the Phoenix Coyotes isn’t the only thing that has the Nashville Predators concerned. Two of their top forwards have been suspended for violating team rules. Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov will watch from the press box after reportedly being spotted at 4 a.m. the morning before Game 2 in Glendale, Ariz. Predators head coach Barry Trotz said he would replace the two Russians from a mix that includes veterans Jordin Tootoo and Matt Halischuk, and rookie Craig Smith.
The Predators are right back in the same place they were in 2004 and again in 2008: down 0-2. And if history is an indicator, the Predators could be on the brink of a comeback. In ’04 and ’08, they bounced back and at least managed to tie the series before bowing out.
The Bottom Line: I still like the Coyotes and the Preds without their top two scorers is bad news for the Predators. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best NHL Picks Experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get NHL Picks Free!
Recent Trends to Consider:
Over is 3-0-1 in the last 4 meetings.
Under is 9-3-2 in the last 14 meetings in Nashville.
Coyotes are 5-2 in the last 7 meetings.
Coyotes are 5-11-1 in the last 17 meetings in Nashville.
Underdog is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.
Road team is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings.
Coyotes are 5-0 in their last 5 games as an underdog.
Coyotes are 5-0 in their last 5 road games.
Coyotes are 4-0 in their last 4 games as an underdog of +110 to +150.
Coyotes are 4-0 in their last 4 games as a road underdog.
Predators are 1-5 in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games.
Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators
When: Wednesday, May 2nd@9:00 PM EST
Pick: Predators -155
Point-Spreads recommends you check the Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators 2012 NHL Playoff Odds before they drop the puck.